On Tuesday, Alex Chalk MP quizzed BIS Minister Anna Soubry MP on the issue of parking charges in Cheltenham. He asked:
‘Cheltenham’s superb range of shops and small businesses rely for their success on people getting out from behind their computers and physically visiting local shops. Does my hon. Friend agree that local authorities should promote flexible and, above all, cheap parking wherever possible to support small businesses and shopping hubs such as Cheltenham?’
The Minister responded:
‘I fear that, as ever, I am a bit off message. I take a radical approach to parking. As far as is ever possible, I take the view that there should be no parking charges in any towns. The car parks belong to the people—they absolutely do. There are times when a local authority wants to put in car-parking charges—a very good example being in Rushcliffe—to make sure that people do not abuse them, but, as far as possible, we should be supporting our great town centres and our great small businesses. We should not charge people for the luxury of parking in their own hometowns.’
Following this exchange, Alex Chalk commented ‘This was a robust response from the Minister, and I absolutely share her instincts for low parking charges. Cheltenham’s shops are a crucial part of what makes our town so special. I believe we’ve got to get behind our small businesses and the shoppers who visit them.'